tv Lockup Raw MSNBC September 10, 2016 2:00am-2:31am PDT
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen, "lockup: raw." 90% of prison life is boring. it's that other 10% that we worry about as producers. the safety of the crew. we take great precaution to make sure that we can do everything possible to protect our crews. sometimes they're going to wear stab vests. other times they are followed by a group of correctional officers for protection.
>> but there are some things you can't protect against. there's a particular type of prison assault that's been described to "lockup" crews over and over again. the nature of this assault is not only disturbing, it's disgusting. we warn you, what you're about to hear is extremely graphic. >> the common way the inmates assault staff now is what we call gassing. where the inmate will throw a liquid substance on an officer. usually what the inmates use is a combination of urine and feces. what they do is they will urinate or defecate in a cup and they'll stir the two human excrements together and they'll let it rot. when staff walks by, they throw it in our face. i would say a gassing assault happens at least once a day here at san quentin. >> and seemingly at almost every other prison we visited.
>> i've had serious incidents with fecal matter, urine, to where i was placed on aids inhibitors medication. i've had hepatitis-infected blood spit in my face. >> they get as creative as putting feces or urine in a toothpaste tube and squirting it through their door. or under their door. those kind of things. >> about 5:45 at night we're feeding chow, i was carrying inmate trays to feed them, inmate had his pie flap down, we were feeding his tray. at that time, the inmate had a squirt bottle, a water bottle they use on the rec yard, had it filled with a substance. while i was carrying trays back downstairs is when he squeezed the water bottle and shot urine into my eye and mouth area. i was checked out. i had a tetanus shot done by urgent care in nashville. had a blood sample drawn from me. >> for? >> to see if i had anything or contracted anything from this inmate. i'm worried. i have a wife at home. my fear is taking something home to my wife and possibly kids
down the road. >> this vile form of assault isn't limited only to correctional staff. "lockup" crews also stay constantly aware. knowing all too well they could wind up in the line of fire. >> in my mind that's one of the worst things that can happen. we were shooting in san quentin in alpine section and we were down on the ground floor, and suddenly i felt something hit me on the top of my head. and i had the worst thought that oh, my god, i've just been gassed. luckily it turned out to be a banana peel. >> when we visited the stateville correctional center in illinois, we encountered another bizarre practice involving human waste. >> it's feces, it spreads on everything. clean it up every day. every day he puts it right back on. >> unit-i the segregation unit at stateville correctional center. basically this is where the bad people who are being extra bad
in the facility come to be locked up. they urinate, bowel movement everywhere. i think they just are kind of crazy. the prison life is probably getting to them. >> we've never seen a more bizarre display of this gut-churning activity than at california state prison corcoran. it happened during a routine shoot at the prison hospital. >> we were there for like about ten minutes, did a couple interviews with a couple doctors and initially it seemed like it was going to be kind of mundane and going through the process. so we decided to leave. we were all packed up, ready to go back into the other section of the prison when all hell broke loose. >> we have four inmates in four different cells that are holding food trays, some of them have started flooding the tier, which means they're causing the toilets to back up and causing water to come out onto the floor. i'm going to first go out and try to talk to the inmates and try to get them into complying with staff instructions.
if the inmates fail to comply with staff instructions, we'll probably have to extract them. >> one by one, the cells just started popping off. you know. one guy just started throwing feces, the other guy was covering up his cell. and i was like, wow, this isn't boring. this is pretty intense. >> i'm going to talk to them. i want to make sure we get that on video and at that time if the inmate doesn't comply, we're going to use those suits. prep the gas masks. i want everything ready to go in no more than five minutes. i want everything to go in five minutes. >> knowing they might be exposed to human waste, correctional staff suit up in plastic coveralls to protect their clothing. but they encounter a few snags. >> they don't make them big enough. >> yes. >> you're going to slide in there. it's wet. one of them might throw feces at you. he's ready. he's going to be pitching, i'm going to be catching. >> while the extraction team suits up, the hospital staff continues to negotiate with the unruly inmates. >> i want to come in, talk to
you, give you medication so you'll settle down. >> meanwhile, the extraction team readies a five-point restraint table to which they will secure any inmate who becomes combative. captain cobs and medical personnel continue to negotiate with the inmate in order to avoid a cell extraction where anyone can be injured. >> if you cooperate with us and you don't fight it, and you take your medication as we give it to you, then we can keep you out of five point. >> finally, one inmate decides to comply and officers move in to take him peacefully. with his cell still a flooded mess, and excrement covering part of the wall, the inmate is taken to another cell where he is medicated by a prison nurse. but another inmate in the hospital wing is proving to be less cooperative. >> i'm a psychiatrist. we need to come in and give you
medication. >> nope, not taking no medication. you ain't coming in. >> are you beginning to cuff up? >> no. >> are you going to take your medication? >> nope. >> i'm captain cobbs. i'm the operations captain. i'm going to give you one more opportunity to comply with staff instructions. i want you to take the coverings down, turn around and submit to mechanical restraints. >> do what you gotta do. >> okay. i'm telling you now, this is your last option. >> listen up, he has a mattress. so therefore i want you to go ahead with the barricade removal device. >> the extraction team prepares to disperse pepper spray into the cell using a cannon-like device that will also ram the mattress away from the door. >> this is block commander. cuff up. >> after a final warning, the team takes action.
>> cuff up! >> with other prisoners egging on the inmate, the team sprays a second round of gas and continues demanding that he cuff up. meanwhile, camera operator mike elwell begins to feel the effects of the pepper spray himself. >> i was standing next to the correctional officer and he had the full face mask and a gas mask and, you know, all kinds of protection and i'm standing next to him, just painter's dust mask that i put on, which needless to say, didn't work. after the pepper spray went off, i was crying like a baby and coughing and, you know, i'm surprised it didn't show up on the videotape. >> nearly two minutes after first being sprayed, the inmate finally gives up. for their disruptive behavior, the inmates involved receive
it's not a clique, my friends i hang with, these 10, 15 people. i probably fear them the most. i know who they are. the rest of these guys, i don't fear none of them. i hope they watch this, so they all know, the ones that don't can all know. they probably do anyway. >> the only thing i fear is them. >> just because i don't fear them doesn't mean they can't take me out of them, though, you don't have to fear a man to get killed or hurt by them. if he fears you, that's when you have to worry. >> in here, especially, he'll sneak up on you with a knife, a rock, a choke. whatever they want to do, they will get you because they fear you. >> to me a coward will hurt you. he's more dangerous than a stone-cold killer is because he's scared. he put hisself in a situation where he's in a corner. >> that's his only way out. >> yeah. >> and no group of inmates feels
more cornered than sex offenders. rapists and child molesters are the pariahs of the prison yard. >> as far as i'm concerned they can die. when they get around me and they start talking and they think it's okay to reveal they're child molesters, every time they say that, i'm going to smash them. >> most sex offenders choose between a life of constant threats or to serve their time in highly restrictive, protective custody units but mark higgins takes a different approach. >> my crime is a serial rapist. i was convicted of several different charges, rape, attempted rape. nine assorted counts in all for a total of 35 years. >> we met higgins at the river bend maximum security institution in tennessee. on the outside, he had a professional career and lived in a wealthy nashville suburb with his wife and four children. but he lived a secretive double life. as he carried out his string of attacks against women between
1990 and '95, the media dubbed him the gentleman rapist. >> the feeling we had on the crew was, wow, that guy is really scary. he's certainly not -- you know, didn't appear dangerous or, you know, your stereo typical inmate. but, you know, i think that's what made him really scary. was that he was like your neighbor. the president of your city council or your best friend. i think that made it all the more creepy. >> rapists such as myself, pedophiles, people that murder children or women, they're at the bottom of that pecking order. okay? and there's a lot of men that will take advantage of your crime to try to manipulate you into doing something you don't want to do, be that giving them sexual favors, food from the commissary that you buy, different things like that. but at the end of the day, we're all wearing blue jeans with a white stripe. we're all in prison for some law
that we've broken. >> unlike most other sex offenders, higgins has stood up for himself. >> if someone wants to make a big deal about my crime, i'll turn to them and look them in the face and ask them, what exactly do you want to know about it? if this person thinks he's going to try to control me by holding that over my head, he's just made a terrible mistake, because i will absolutely confront him on that. and oh, by the way, what's your crime? well, is that really better than what -- did you have less of a victim than what i had? you're in here for murder. at least my victim is still walking around, living and breathing. >> one reason higgins can get away with defending himself is because he's housed in a minimum security unit where many of the inmates have similar charges. but the sex offender we met at iowa's anamosa state penitentiary has a very different existence. larry morgan spends nearly every
hour of every day inside a small protective custody cell where he never sees the sun. >> what happened is they accused me of killing a little girl back in 1994. and next thing i know i'm in prison and then there's people talking about a contract supposed to be out on me. >> morgan was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl. he is serving life without the possibility of parole. >> there's been a lot of threats against me, and it was a high-profile crime at the time. everybody in the system knew about it and, of course, they're all trying to stand up and be a righteous convict. and it's like oh, well, i only rob banks. or i only do drugs. i only sell crack to kids. but this guy, he killed one, so now we're going to go and we're going to kill him. >> protective custody inmates like morgan are locked in their cells 23 hours a day.
to keep them from other inmates. >> at first it's claustrophobic being in a little cell 23 hours a day. but it's -- you know, after awhile you get used to it. what i miss most about freedom is just probably being able to be outside. i miss the sun. i probably miss that more than anything else. and fresh air. i mean, these places don't smell too good. next on "lockup: raw" -- >> all of a sudden, the locks started rattling back and forth together, clacking. >> when a life sentence extends to the afterlife. >> i'm not a superstitious person. i believe everything has an explanation.
that it might take more than death to keep some inmates down. >> i love a good ghost story and anywhere i go that it looks like it has the potential, i'll always ask, do you have any ghosts around. in new mexico they had a lot in the old prison. >> when we shot at the penitentiary of new mexico, major dean lopez took us to the old main, a now abandoned building that used to be the heart of the prison before it was replaced with the state-of-the-art facility. >> this is where most of the murders from the riot took place, was in this cell block right here. >> the old main was the site of the riot where inmates slaughtered 33 of their own. and reminders are everywhere. >> this is an area where an inmate actually got chopped up with an ax. what you see here on the floor is just indentures and ligature marks from where the ax went through the body and carved into
the floor. >> one other remnant of the riot is just as grisly but has also been the source of an unexplainable phenomenon. >> they burned the guy to a crisp right there. down here on the floor is the area where he was burned. doesn't matter what we've done to try to cover that up. we've tried industrial gray paint, floor wax, stripper, everything. we paint it. within a month and a half, the whole burn mark would be back on the surface of the paint again. >> some people would look at this and say that's the ghost coming through the floor. >> there's been a lot of things that certain people have seen in the old main, at one point in time we had no electricity in this place and we'd find lights on, we'd get to the facility and the lights would be off again. no explanation for why they'd be on. you'd hear noises that people would say were people screaming. i'm not very much of a superstitious person and i believe that everything has an explanation. as a matter of fact, i was one of the people they'd send down to investigate those noises
because, yeah, right, you know. there are some things that i've seen here that i've not been able to explain. if somebody else can, i'd be more than happy to hear them try. >> the specter of inmates refusing to leave prison, even after death. "lockup" crews have found that at other prisons, too. built in 1852, california san quentin is one of the oldest prisons we visited. >> approximately 1985, a brand new correctional officer here at san quentin. i was working graveyard in a section called donner. >> this officer is a member of san quentin's investigative services unit, an elite team of c.o.s who track gang activity and other threats to the institution. >> one night my partner and i were working graveyard. i was sitting with my back to a file cabinet just like this. there was a row of padlocks on the top handle.
my partner and i were talking, all of a sudden, the locks started rattling back and forth together, clacking. he looked at it. i looked at it. see, i'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. we both ran out of the office. we had no explanation as to what that was. we asked some other officers and they said that, you know, the unit is probably haunted. so never can tell. there was no explanation for it. there was no earthquake. the inmates weren't complaining in the unit about the ground moving. there were no wild animals in there. i didn't bump it. he didn't bump it. so no telling. >> there's been a history of other strange phenomena here as well. >> this is san quentin's old dental clinic. back in approximately 1984 there was an inmate that was murdered here in this corner. late at night, our officers working in here have heard the
same thing i've heard, footsteps walking in the floors above me right here. and i keep telling them that the guy that was killed here, the inmate, that's him still walking in this building. >> how do people react? and how did you react when you first heard it? did you go up and look? >> absolutely. i thought somebody was in the building. i didn't know whether or not it was an inmate or another officer. when i walked upstairs, everything was locked up. i no longer heard the footsteps, came back down, continued my work, got quiet again. heard the footsteps once again. and everybody in this unit has heard them late at night. >> with so many inmates bent on destructive behavior, it's no wonder that some would, if they could, carry on even after death. because in prison, "danger never dies."
we're back here in daytona beach, florida, because a letter we got from two business owners. they want to expand their business but said they need our help. we assembled a s.w.a.t. team of business experts to swoop in, shakes things up and give thm a business makeover. that's coming up next on "your business."